Place Your Bets on the Fastest Sport at the Fair

Five Days of Indian Relays; Four Days of Pari-Mutuel Horse Racing

Published online: Sep 07, 2021 Lifestyle
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BLACKFOOT – And they’re off… “The Fastest Sport at the Fair” returns to the EISF Grandstand -- Pari-Mutuel Racing and the Indian Relay National Championships – to kick off this year’s festivities, once again presented by Shoshone-Bannock Casino Hotel. Experience the amazing speed of the Quarter Horse and the driving finish power of the Thoroughbred right here at the Eastern Idaho State Fair. Horsemen from around the Intermountain West will be bringing the best horses in our region to go head to head. Bring your family and friends and Eat It Up! at the Eastern Idaho State Fair! 

Pari-Mutuel Racing – a betting system in which all bets are placed together in a pool and shared among all winning bets – will kick-off on Sunday, September 5, and will continue on Monday, September 6; as well as Friday, September 10 and Saturday, September 11. Post time is noon. The actual number of Pari-Mutuel races vary each day. Indian Relay races normally held after the 4th, 6th, and 8th Pari-Mutuel races. (See daily racing program for most current schedule).

Pari-Mutuel Racing attracts all types of fans – from spectators to novice and serious bettors. Anyone over the age of 18 can place a bet; the Race Track’s official program, available for $3, will provide information on each race and each horse, so fans can place their wagers on horses they think are most likely to win, place or show. 

The Pari-Mutuel races include the return of the always popular and dangerous Indian Relay National Championships. Indian Relay Races are a centuries-old tradition of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes. This adrenaline-fueled sport originated on the Fort Hall Indian Reservation over 100 years ago. This legacy has been passed down through the generations, to include families competing today whose predecessors were part of the origination. The Indian Relay teams consist of three horses, 1 rider, 1 mugger (catcher), and 2 holders. The rider must complete a lap around the track at full speed… bareback, then arrive along the Grandstand, dismount the running horse at full speed, and mount the next horse for the next leg, all without assistance from their team. Those switches along the Grandstand are the most important parts to the race. 

Admission to the Pari-Mutuel Horse Racing and Indian Relay National Championships costs just $4 for persons over the age of 5; this is in addition to gate admission. Purchase admission to the horse racing at the ticket windows along the Grandstand starting at 11a.m. Indian Relay Races will also be held on Thursday, September 9, from noon – 1:30 p.m.; admission to this event is FREE on Thursday. For the safety of the horses and the jockeys, the races may be canceled due to heavy rain. Watch our Facebook page for any unexpected changes.

Make plans to attend our other daytime grandstand events, FREE after paid gate admission.

Monday, September 6 – Friday, September 6

Horse Hitches, 9 a.m., Infield

Tuesday, September 7

Miniature Horse Cart Driving Class, 8 a.m., Infield

Wednesday, September 8

Draft Horse Hitches, 9 a.m., Infield

Pony Driving Class, 11 a.m., Infield

While you are enjoying these great events, please remember to keep the fair smoke-free. This is the 12th year of having a smoke-free policy, with designated smoking areas for those choosing to smoke or vape on the Fairgrounds.. The Fair’s goal is to have a healthy, family-friendly Fairgrounds for the thousands of attendees. “Attending the fair is a fun family experience for people of all ages,” says Fair Manager Brandon Bird. “Limiting exposure to secondhand smoke makes a more enjoyable atmosphere for everyone.” Advantages of this smoke-free policy include: 1) a healthier environment for Fair attendees, 2) the elimination of cigarette butts scattered around the Fairgrounds, and 3) the reduction in safety hazards.  If you would like to smoke while at the Fair, please remember to smoke and vape only in the three designated areas: the pari-mutuel betting and the two beer gardens. 

Eat it Up! at the Eastern Idaho State Fair September 3 through September 11. Complete schedules and 2021 Fair information can be found at or by calling (208) 785-2480. 


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